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Ebook Nanny Reilly


Published on Nanny Reilly is the first of my children's fantasy adventure series. Live storytelling videos. Read by authentic Irish storyteller. Read along or sit back and enjoy the story. Introducing The Rescueteers Christmas Mission, the second of the series. Get the whole story live on video. The has been nothing like this since Darby O'Gill & the Little People. Download free illustrated Nanny Reilly e-book, 99 pages.

Ebook Nanny Reilly

  1. 1. FICTION Nanny ReillyNanny Reilly and her dog Henry Daly are tricked by a mean leprechaun king intokidnapping his niece Princess Tara. Nanny’s kindness and innocence brings out thebest in King Brian and they are invited to the leprechaun dance on midsummer’s eve.Nanny, Henry Daly and their new friend Ned dress up in their Sunday best and go tothe dance.On their way to the dance, Princess Tara and her father King Rory are caught by a meanman named Bull Cullen. Bull is looking for the crock of gold and is ready to surrenderPrincess Tara and King Rory to the Banshee, a mean old witch who takes all her victimsinto her Banshee’s Cradle in the heart of the forest. Nanny, Ned and Henry Daly rescuethem. For their bravery, they are presented with a gold whistle each and two magic ponies.The gold whistles give them the same magic powers as a leprechaun.One day, while out beachcombing on their ponies, they come across footprints in the sand.They follow the prints and find a distraught fisherman named Fran O’Toole whose friendMike Donovan has been captured by the Banshee. These footprints are the beginning ofa magical adventure, which land them deep within the Banshee’s Cradle. ANNETTE O’LEARY-COGGINSAnnette O’Leary-Coggins grew up in Coolrainy, Co. Wexford, Ireland,as one of eleven children. She later immigrated to California, where she worked as a chef,a food buyer and a sales representative. She is now living her childhood dream—writingchildren’s books and riding horses in the Bitterroot Vally of Western Montana. U.S. $ XX.XX
  2. 2. Nanny Reilly Book 1 a novel byAnnette O’Leary-Coggins iUniverse, Inc. New York Bloomington
  3. 3. Nanny ReillyBook 1Copyright © 2010 by Annette O’Leary-Cogginswww.nannyreilly.comAll rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means,graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or byany information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisherexcept in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents,organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the productsof the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.Illustrations by Russell Dauterman, www.russelldauterman.comPermission foe use given for four lines of Lord of the Dance, written bySydney Carter. Copyright 1963 Stainer & Bell Ltd. Administered by HopePublishing Company, Carolstream, Illinois. All rights reserved.Permission for use given for A Child’s Bedtime Song, written by Denid E.Waitley, Ph.D. The Waitley Institute, Ranch Sante Fe, California.iUniverse books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting:iUniverse1663 Liberty DriveBloomington, IN 47403www.iuniverse.com1-800-Authors (1-800-288-4677)Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any Web addresses or links contained in thisbook may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressedin this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of thepublisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.ISBN: 978-1-4502-4648-4 (sc)ISBN: 978-1-4502-4650-7 (dj)ISBN: 978-1-4502-4649-1 (ebk)Library of Congress Control Number: 2010910813Printed in the United States of AmericaiUniverse rev. date: 7/26/2010
  4. 4. A Child’s Bedtime Song By Denis E. Waitley, Ph.D. If I had two wishes, I know what they would be. I’d wish for Roots to cling to, and Wings to set me free. Roots of inner values, like rings within a tree, And Wings of independence to seek my destiny. Roots to hold forever, to keep me safe and strong.To let me know you love me, when I’ve done something wrong. To show me by example, and help me learn to choose. To take these actions every day, to win instead of loose. Just be there when I need you, to tell me it’s alright To face my fear of falling when I test my wings in flight. Don’t make my life too easy, it’s better if I try And fail and get back up myself, so I can learn to fly. If I had two wishes, and two were all I had, And they could just be granted by my Mom and Dad. I wouldn’t wish for money, or any store bought things. The greatest gifts I’d ask for, are simply Roots and Wings.
  5. 5. CHAPTER ONEOne evening, while out picking mushrooms, Nanny and her dog HenryDaly came to Magandy’s Pond. Henry liked to sniff his way throughthe reeds around the pond. It was one of his favorite places, especiallywhen the ducks swam close to the bank. Nanny and her older brotherwould sometimes spend the summer evenings fishing there. “One day, Henry Daly,” said Nanny, “I’m going to find out what’sat the bottom of Magandy’s Pond. My brother said it has no bottom,and if I fell in there, I would go all the way to Australia. If I wantedto come back home, I would have to find some magic beans and plantthem like Jack did to get the beanstalk to grow. Then I could climb thebeanstalk all the way back to Ireland.” “Ah, will ya go away outta that. Ya surely don’t believe that, do you?”said a voice from nowhere. “Who said that?” asked Nanny looking around for Andy Magandy,he’s the farmer who owned the field she was in. “Who’s there? Whereare you?” “Australia is the land down under, but it’s surely not under Magandy’sPond,” laughed the voice. “Come out and show yourself,” Nanny said in an agitated voice. “Isit a coward you are? If so, be off with ya, and leave me alone!” “I’m no coward. Sure, I’m one of the bravest men in Ireland, and ifyou’ll open your eyes and look down instead of looking up in the skyyou’ll see me,” replied the unidentified voice. Nanny looked to the ground. Sitting relaxed on top of a mushroomwith his arms folded as though he was expecting Nanny was the smallest 1
  6. 6. Annette O’Leary-Cogginsman she had ever seen. He stood about ten inches tall, wore blackboots with extra large gold buck les, green trousers, a yellow and green-checkered waistcoat, and a green cape with gold trim that hung to hiswaist. On his head sat a gold crown sparkling with emeralds. He hadsullen green eyes, and a red beard about three inches long all aroundhis jaw line. “Jeepers,” said Nanny in astonishment. “Are you a leprechaun?” “Aye, Lass, you just hit the nail on the head. I’m a leprechaun allright, but I’m no ordinary leprechaun. I am King Brian,” said the littleman, reaching for the lapels of his waistcoat and sticking his chest outwith pride. Henry Daly stood at Nanny’s side and growled at King Brian. Hesensed the little man was up to no good and it was his job to protectNanny. He pushed his snout into Nanny’s hand and whined severaltimes. “I’m King of all the leprechauns in Coolrainy, and you’ve beenstealing the roofs off our houses,” said King Brian, his voice taking ona serious tone. “I didn’t know you lived under the mushrooms,” said Nanny.“Nobody told me. I can put them all back, and I’ll never do it again.” “It’s too late for that,” King Brian said with a hint of mischiefin his voice. “You owe me a favor, or else I’ll have to put you underleprechaun’s arrest.” “Leprechaun’s arrest? What’s that?” Nanny asked, starting to wishshe’d never come out to play that day. “Leprechaun’s arrest means that all my leprechauns will surroundyou and your dog, Henry Daly, right here at Magandy’s Pond, and nomatter how hard you try, you won’t be able to break through the circleof leprechauns, until every mushroom you picked all summer growsback and all my people have the roofs back on their houses,” King Briansaid, folding his arms over his round belly. Henry Daly heard King Brian mention his name. He barked onetime at him and whimpered at Nanny. “But that will take weeks,” Nanny said. “I have to go home tonight toget my supper, and my big brother is taking me to the fair tomorrow.” “Well, unless you promise to do me a favor, you’re going to beunder leprechaun’s arrest from this very moment, and you’ll get no 2
  7. 7. Nanny Reillymushroom soup for your supper. Nor will you be able to go to any fair.”The leprechaun paced around the top of the toadstool looking small butimportant. “Not tomorrow, or the day after that, or any day in the nearfuture. Not until all those mushrooms have grown back,” King Briansaid with a glint of achievement in his eyes. He reached behind his headand tipped his crown down slightly on his brow. King Brian was a crafty old soul. He knew he had left Nanny noway out. He was feeling like cock of the walk and proud of himself forbeing so clever. Nanny didn’t like what she heard. Henry Daly took a step towardsKing Brian and growled again. He knew Nanny was bothered by whatshe heard. “I’ll set my dog after you,” said Nanny. “My brother told me thatHenry’s grandfather won the greyhound derby in record time, and heleft the whole pack at the starting gate. He can catch any rabbit aroundhere, and he surely will be able to catch you.” “Catch me? He would have to be able to run faster than the speedof light to catch me,” chortled King Brian. “Watch this. Now you seeme, now you don’t.” King Brian snapped his tiny fingers and disappeared. All Nannycould hear was laughter. Then King Brian snapped again, and appearedon the mushroom cap, fine as you please. Nanny knew Henry Daly was fast, but he wasn’t magical. Hewas just a good old dog. “What kind of favor do I have to do?” sheasked, wishing she too could snap her fingers and disappear, right backhome. “All you have to do is carry a small sack for one mile to Ballineskar,the next village, and back to me here in Coolrainy on Saturday nightafter everyone has gone to bed. And if you do that, and meet me right bythis mushroom, your debt will be paid and I’ll grant you one wish.” King Brian’s face tightened and turned very serious, his green eyesclouding. He pointed his finger and looked Nanny right in the eye “But you have to promise me this,” the King said, “under nocircumstances are you to look inside the sack. If you do, you’ll get nowish from me, or any other leprechaun. Not now or ever, and the biggestmushroom you have ever seen will grow out of the top of your head. 3
  8. 8. Annette O’Leary-CogginsYou’ll never be able to get rid of it, and everyone will tease you untilyou cry all the time.” Henry nudged Nanny with his nose and whimpered. She knew hewas warning her about King Brian. “I don’t like the sound of that,” said Nanny. “If Ned Franey sees amushroom growing out of the top of my head, he’ll be calling me namesall day, and so will everyone else.” Nanny had visions of her archenemy,Ned Franey, gathering a posse of the village children and following hereverywhere, calling her all kinds of mushroom names like ‘mold head’,‘fungus brain’, and ‘toadstool girl.’ “I’ll do it,” said Nanny, giving a confident nod. Her auburn curlsemphasized her nod. She looked King Brian in the eye and stood tall.Nanny also knew no matter what, she didn’t want to be called namesof any kind. “Do you promise me you won’t look in the sack?” King Brianasked. “I promise I won’t look into the sack,” answered Nanny, picturinga puff y brown and white mushroom growing out of her head andshuddering. “Good lass, Nanny Reilly,” said King Brian. “Meet me here onSaturday at midnight, and don’t tell anyone.” The King held his fingerto his lips, looking sinister for all his smallness. With that, Nanny and Henry Daly ran off home. Nanny’s thoughtswere on King Brian’s warning. What would happen to her auburncurls if a mushroom grew out of her head? She never thought of herone wish. 4
  9. 9. Nanny Reilly5
  10. 10. CHAPTER TWOOn Saturday morning Nanny took Henry Daly to the village to maila letter. The village store also acted as a post office and gas station.Henry stayed outside lying in the sun. He liked to lay with his frontpaws crossed while he observed the activities of the villagers. Nannywent in to mail the letter. Just as Nanny was paying for the stamp,Ned Franey and his mother walked in. Ned stood behind his mother,looked at Nanny, and stuck his fat tongue out. Nanny frowned at himand looked away. “How are you today, Nanny?” asked Mrs. Donohue, the owner ofthe establishment. She was placing a tray of freshly made toffee appleson the counter. “I have a headache,” replied Nanny. Nanny was very worried aboutthe task she and Henry had ahead of them at midnight. “A headache!” Mrs. Donohue said. “What could possibly give anine-year-old like yourself a headache?” Nanny looked at Ned’s mother, wishing she could tell her thetruth. Ned opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something mean toNanny, but he couldn’t because his mother and Mrs. Donohue wouldhear him. Nanny sighed with relief, she surely didn’t need to hear asmart comment come out of Ned Franey’s mouth. Nanny had enoughgoing on with her headache. Nanny knew she couldn’t tell anyone about meeting King Brian atMagandy’s Pond. If Ned Franey heard, he wouldn’t believe her. He’dbe laughing at her and chanting, “Liar, liar, your pants is on fire, yourtongue is as long as a telephone wire.” 6
  11. 11. Nanny Reilly “I think it’s the change of weather giving me the headache,” Nannyanswered as she handed the stamped envelope to Mrs. Donohue. “Would you like a toffee apple for your headache, Nanny?” askedMrs. Donohue, her round face turning into a smile. “A toffee apple!” said Nanny. “Yes, please!” Nanny quickly glancedover her right shoulder and saw Ned Franey crinkle up his frecklednose. “Here you are, Nanny.” Mrs. Donohue handed Nanny a homemadetoffee apple, “I hope you’re feeling better soon.” “Thank you very much, Mrs. Donohue,” replied Nanny. Her frownturned into a smile. It was a rare thing to get a free toffee apple from Mrs.Donohue. “I have to go now. My mother wants me to go straight homeand no dilly-dallying.” Nanny looked at Ned. She smiled and raisedher nose in the air. She suddenly forgot all her woes and walked out ofthe store licking her toffee apple and leaving Ned Franey frowning. Hisred freckled face blended with his fiery red hair. Nanny thought aboutsticking her tongue out at him, but she didn’t. That night Nanny went to bed in her jeans, sweater, and sneakers,which felt lumpy and weird, but what could she do? Henry lay stretchedout at the end of her bed. His long tail would occasionally wag and hitthe bedpost as Nanny spoke softly to him. “What if we don’t wake up in time, Henry Daly?” wondered Nanny.“Will I wake up tomorrow morning with a mushroom growing frommy head?” Nanny shuddered thinking about the events that may occuron Sunday morning. “Jeepers!” she said, if I wear a scarf on my head, the mushroom willbe sticking up underneath it. The whole village will see me at Mass.We’ll have to pack our belongings and leave Coolrainy!” Near midnight, everyone was in bed asleep except Nanny. She puta soccer ball and a pillow under the blankets. That way, if her motherlooked in on her, she would think Nanny was there. Nanny and Henrywere very careful not to make any noise as they crept out the backdoor. It was a full moon so Nanny didn’t need her dad’s flashlight. HenryDaly struck out first and the two made their way to Magandy’s Pondto meet King Brian. Nanny and Henry left the back yard through the 7
  12. 12. Annette O’Leary-Cogginsgate and jumped over a ditch behind the house. They headed off downKatie’s lane. “You go first, Henry Daly,” whispered Nanny, “dogs can see in thedark.” Henry trotted through the gate with his ears pricked and his tailstraight up in the air. Nanny walked briskly down the moonlit laneand kept to the center. She was afraid something might jump out ather from either side. About a quarter of a mile down the lane, Nanny climbed over awooden fence and Henry crawled underneath. An owl hooted from thetall elm tree down the lane. The hair stood up on the back of Nanny’sneck and shivers ran down her spine. “Let’s run, Henry Daly,” she said. “We’ll get there faster.” The tworan across the moonlit field all the way to Magandy’s Pond. When theygot there, King Brian was waiting on the same mushroom that glowedin the moonlight, he was holding a sack. Henry growled at King Brianand stood close to Nanny. King Brian was beaming from ear to ear when he saw Nanny. Hescowled at Henry, and for a minute, Nanny thought there might be adog-leprechaun tussle. But Henry Daly stuck close to her legs, thoughhe growled softly every few seconds. “There ya go, Lass,” King Brian said. “Take this sack with this rabbitin it to the middle of Katie’s Field in Ballineskar. When you get there,you’ll see a rabbit’s burrow. Open this sack over the entrance of theburrow and let the rabbit run lickety-split into the burrow. Wait therefor a minute with the sack still open and another rabbit will run into thesack. Close up the sack as quickly as you can, and bring it back here tome.” The King rubbed his hands together and hunched up his shouldersin delight. “You must be back here before dawn breaks,” he warned. “Ifyou’re not, a mushroom will start appearing on your head.” King Brian reached into his cloak and pulled out a small shillelagh.He waved it at Nanny as though it were a magic wand. “And whateveryou do, don’t look in the sack.” The rabbit was making brave attempts to jump from the sack.Henry was moving his head sideways with his ears pricked forwardstaring at the busy sack. He yelped several times. 8
  13. 13. Nanny Reilly “This rabbit is not for chasing Henry Daly,” said Nanny, “we haveto make sure this rabbit stays right where it is until we get to thatburrow.” Nanny felt the top of her head to make sure there was no sign ofearly mushroom sprouts. She threw the sack over her shoulder and tookoff across the fields with Henry Daly at her side. 9
  14. 14. CHAPTER THREENanny was relieved that Henry seemed to know where they were goingby the way he trotted along with his nose to the ground. He had thesame sense of urgency about him that Nanny had. He led the way acrossthe field and down the bog road to Clancy’s footbridge. Even thoughthis was familiar territory and Nanny often fished there, she stayedclose to Henry. Everything looked different at night. Everything lookedspooky and strange. Large leafy limbs of a big oak tree hung over thefootbridge and blocked the moonlight. Henry stopped and sniffed theair several times. “What is it, Henry Daly?” asked Nanny, her teeth beginning tochatter. “Is there something there?” Nanny felt cold and started totremble. She saw the outline of something large at the other side of thefootbridge. Now she wished she had brought her dad’s flashlight. Henry growled and took two steps towards the predator. Then theyheard a snort and the large outline took off at the gallop. Nanny sighed a sigh of relief. “It’s only Tom, the plough horse,” shesaid. “We scared him as much as he scared us.” Tom ran about twenty yards, then stopped suddenly, quickly turned,and stood to attention with his nostrils flaring. “Don’t worry, Tom,” said Nanny in a soothing voice. “It’s only me,Nanny Reilly, and Henry Daly is with me. I’m sorry we woke you andscared you, but you scared us too. We can’t stop and talk to you now,we’re in a hurry. And shhh,” Nanny put her finger to her lips, “don’ttell anyone you saw us.” 10
  15. 15. Nanny Reilly Tom nickered into the night, sounding comforting and friendly.Nanny let out a sigh and continued across the footbridge in a briskmarch. Her curls bounced in rhythm to her every step. The rabbitcontinued to jump around a little. Henry didn’t mind the rabbit somuch now. He trotted beside Nanny wagging his tail. “I’ll see you tomorrow Tom,” Nanny called out. Tom snorted againand continued to stand to attention until Nanny Reilly and Henry wereout of sight. They marched up the ferny trail on Sarah’s hill and down intoO’Brien’s half-acre. Just ahead of them, Nanny could clearly seeBallineskar and Katie Murphy’s whitewashed cottage, tucked into thefar corner of her field. “We’re almost there Henry Daly,” said Nanny. She lengthened herstrides and picked up her pace. Henry did the same. Finally they reached Katie’s field. “Find that rabbit’s burrow, HenryDaly,” said Nanny, pointing across the moonlit grass. “We’ll have tobe quick. The sun will start rising in a few hours and I don’t want amushroom growing out of my head.” Henry sniffed his way along, his nose combing the grass and his tailin the air as he zigzagged through Katie’s Field. Then he stopped, stoodperfectly still, and sniffed the air all around him. He stood tall over theburrow wagging his tail and barked once for Nanny’s attention. “Good boy, Henry Daly,” said Nanny. “Now all I have to do islet the rabbit into the burrow and wait for another rabbit to run outinto the sack.” Nanny was feeling more excited than afraid now. Shecarefully did all she was told to do. She knelt down by the rabbitburrow and opened the drawstring at the neck of the burlap sack. Shecould smell sweat from the scared rabbit in the cool night air. The sackwas barely large enough to cover the mouth of the burrow and Nannylost her grip. The frightened rabbit almost slipped away, except HenryDaly was hovering over the whole situation and scared the rabbit intothe hole. Nanny regained her hold on the sack and held it as best shecould over the burrow. Then in an instant, the sack began to bouncearound vigorously. The other rabbit had scampered into it and wasfighting very hard to get out. Nanny struggled to tie the drawstring.After several attempts she managed to tie up the sack and she quickly 11
  16. 16. Annette O’Leary-Cogginsthrew it over her shoulder, then she and Henry Daly headed back toMagandy’s Pond. The rabbit in the sack was kicking like crazy. Henry whimperedand whined at the overactive sack. If Nanny had allowed it HenryDaly would take that sack and shake it up and down and around andaround. “Stay quiet in there,” Nanny said in a loud whisper; concernedshe might awaken the farmers sleeping in the cottages nearby. “You’rehurting me,” she complained, “My back will be full of bruises. The otherrabbit was much quieter than you.” “I’m no rabbit,” a high-pitched voice yelled from the sack. “And ifyou don’t let me go, I’ll turn your ears into rabbit’s ears, then you’ll haveno doubt in your mind what a rabbit looks like.” “I already know what a rabbit looks like,” Nanny said, “so stay quietin there. I’m taking you back to King Brian, king of the leprechaunsof all Coolrainy.” “Don’t you dare take me to King Brian of Coolrainy. I am PrincessTara, daughter of King Rory, king of all the leprechauns of Ballineskar.If you take me to King Brian, I will turn your ears into rabbit’s ears andyour nose into a pig’s nose.” Nanny couldn’t believe her ears. “Now what will I do, Henry Daly?”she said. “If I look in the sack to make sure I have a rabbit in there, abig mushroom will grow on my head, and if I don’t look in the sack I’llgrow rabbit ears and a pig’s nose.” Nanny sat down on a dew-covered rock and started to cry. HenryDaly sat beside her, licking the tears from her face. Sadness filled hisbig brown eyes. Princess Tara made comforting comments, she spoke softly likeNanny’s grandma. The Princess said, “If you let me out of this sack, Ican help you, and I promise I won’t turn your ears into rabbit’s ears andyour nose into a pig’s nose.” “But if I look in the sack, a mushroom will grow on my head andall the village children will be laughing at me, especially Ned Franey.He always laughs at me and calls me names.” “Well then,” said Princess Tara, “don’t look in the sack. You can letme out without looking.” 12
  17. 17. Nanny Reilly “But if I go back to King Brian with an empty sack, he’ll make amushroom grow out of my head,” whined Nanny “Why did you haveto run into the sack anyway? Why didn’t you just let another rabbit runinto your burrow and you stay put?” “Because that burrow is my house,” Princess Tara replied, as shekept pushing the walls of the sack. “When that rabbit came chargingin, I got a fright and came charging out. You had the sack open, it’s darkin there, and I couldn’t see. I didn’t realize I was running into a sack.As soon as I realized, it was too late, you had already tied up the sack,and I couldn’t get out.” “But why does King Brian want you? Why does he want to takeyou away from your father, King Rory of Ballineskar?” asked NannyReilly. “Because he wants the crock of gold,” Princess Tara said. “KingBrian is my uncle, my father’s brother, and is banished forever fromBallineskar. That’s why he tricked you into coming here. If he steps footinto Ballineskar, he’ll turn into a rabbit.” “He’ll turn into a rabbit? Is that a curse like a mushroom growingout of the top my head?” Nanny asked. “Yes it is,” answered the Princess, “and he’ll stay a rabbit as long ashe stays mean.” Nanny wondered whether Ned Franey could be turned into arabbit. “Why was he banished forever? And why does he want the crock ofgold?” Asked Nanny. “He was banished forever from Ballineskar because he played toomany mean tricks on people. He wants the crock of gold becausewhoever has the crock of gold shall have all he or she desires, and KingBrian wants all of Ballineskar and Coolrainy.” “But what does that have to do with you? Why does he want you?”asked Nanny, sitting up a little straighter and pushing her sneakers incircles on the cool grass. “He wants me because he knows my father, King Rory, will givehim anything he asks for to get me back,” replied Princess Tara. “Can King Brian really make a mushroom grow on top of myhead?” asked Nanny in a sad inquisitive voice. Henry sat beside Nanny 13
  18. 18. Annette O’Leary-Cogginsand put his paw in her lap. He looked up at her, blinked his soft browneyes several times and whimpered. “He can,” replied Princess Tara, sounding determined. “And I canturn your ears into rabbit’s ears, and your nose into a pig’s nose, so youbetter let me out.” “Can you help me? I don’t know what I should do,” said Nanny.“I would like to let you go, but I’m afraid King Brian will make amushroom grow out of my head.” “Of course I can help you, just don’t look in the sack. Turn awaywhile I climb out of here. Then when I’m out, we’ll make a plan totrick King Brian, and maybe then he’ll never trick anybody again,” saidPrincess Tara. “I’ve learned a trick or two myself.” The little Princesspunched the side of the sack to punctuate her words. “OK,” said Nanny, “here goes.” Keeping her eyes shut, Nannyopened the sack with one hand. She placed her other hand on top ofher head. She thought if a mushroom started to grow, she could pushit back down. “Free at last,” sighed Princess Tara; sounding much clearer now thatshe was out of the sack. “May I open my eyes now?” asked Nanny Reilly. “You may,” answered Princess Tara. Nanny opened her eyes. Before her, on the grass, stood a girl nomore than eight inches tall with long wavy red hair. She wore pinkpajamas with tiny green shamrocks all over them, and a gold crownwith diamonds all around it on her head. “You surely are tiny,” said Nanny. “You’re smaller than KingBrian.” “Of course I am,” replied the Princess as she wiped her foreheadwith a tiny pink lace handkerchief. “I still have a lot of growing to do.My mother told me I’m going to grow as tall as my Aunt Betsy, andshe’s nine and a half inches tall.” The little Princess sneezed. “It was very stuff y in there. Have youever been tied up in a sack before?” she asked “No, I haven’t,” Nanny said, “but Ned Franey locked me in the coalshed once. He told me Henry Daly was trapped in there and couldn’tget out. I ran in to rescue Henry Daly, and sure, he wasn’t in there atall. Then Ned Franey slammed the door behind me and locked it.” 14
  19. 19. Nanny ReillyNanny shuddered, remembering the metallic smell and the darknessof the coal shed. “I was in there all day until my mother opened the door that night.She came to get coal to light the fire.” “Why didn’t you shout and kick to get out like I did to get out ofthe sack?” asked Princess Tara. “I did, and then I fell asleep, and when my mother opened the coalshed door she got the fright of her life. Coal dust had made my hair,face, hands and clothes as black as the pots, and she thought I was ahairy monster,” Nanny said. Princess Tara laughed, which Nanny thought was a little rude sinceshe had just let the Princess escape. “I like you,” Princess Tara said smiling at Nanny, “even though youtried to kidnap me. What’s your name?” “Nanny Reilly, and this is my dog Henry Daly,” answered Nanny.“Henry Daly comes everywhere with me now since Ned Franey lockedme in the coal shed.” “It sounds to me like Ned Franey is a little bit like King Brian,” saidthe Princess. “He likes to play mean tricks on people.” Princess Tara scratched her head and her crown tipped a little. Thenshe righted her crown and stood tall and straight. Nanny felt herselfsit up a little taller and put her shoulders back. The Princess removedher diamond studded crown and placed it carefully on the grass. Shetilted her head to the right, gathered her long red hair over her shoulder,and braided it. She snapped her fingers and a tiny green velvet ribbonappeared in the palm of her hand. She tied a neat bow at the end ofher braid, threw her hair back over her shoulder, and then placed hercrown back on her head. Nanny had seen this finger snapping magic before by King Brianat Magandy’s Pond, but it still amazed her. “It’s time for us to stop King Brian once and for all. We have tomake a plan so he won’t play any more mean tricks on anyone.” Shepaused and then said, “I have an idea. Here’s what we should do.” 15
  20. 20. CHAPTER FOUR“Let’s hurry, Henry Daly,” said Nanny, “it’s almost dawn. We need toget back to Magandy’s Pond. Nanny made it back to King Brian intime. She had the sack over her shoulder. “Well now,” said King Brian, “you made it. I hope for your sake youdidn’t look in the sack.” I surely didn’t,” answered Nanny “Here’s your rabbit, may I go homenow? My mother will be calling me for breakfast in a couple of hours,and I won’t be in my bed. She’ll be terribly worried and wondering ifNed Franey locked me in the coal shed again.” “Not so fast there, Nanny Reilly,” said King Brian, “I have to makesure you brought me the right rabbit. If you didn’t, then with a click ofmy fingers, I’ll make the biggest mushroom you ever saw grow on topof that head of yours.” King Brian slowly opened the sack. He peepedinside, and a broad smile came across his face. He saw Princess Taracurled up asleep in her pink pajamas. “You did well, Lass. This is theright rabbit all right, and a beautiful rabbit she is too. Be off with younow, and never touch another mushroom in Coolrainy,” said KingBrian. He carefully tucked the sack under his arm as he ushered Nannyaway with the back of his hand while taking several steps towards her.“Off, home with you now before I change my mind.” He pointed in thedirection of Nanny’s house and then turned away from her. King Briankicked up his heels. He was so elated his body wriggled with delight. “I’m not going home until you grant me my wish,” demandedNanny, standing with her hands on her hips. “You told me if I broughtyou back that sack, you would give me one wish. I want my wish.” 16
  21. 21. Nanny Reilly “Sure, you’re a smarter lass than I thought you were,” smiled KingBrian as he turned back to face Nanny. “What kind of a wish would ayoung lady like yourself be wanting?” “My big brother told me that leprechauns can dance jigs all day andnight and never get tired. Is that true?” asked Nanny. “It surely is true,” answered King Brian. “Leprechauns are thegreatest dancers Ireland has ever known, and sure I’m the greatestdancer leprechauns have ever known.” “Are you able to do the Darby O’Gill two-step?” asked Nanny.“Indeed I am Lass. Sure, that’s the finest step in the whole of Ireland,didn’t I create it myself? I danced it for the first time when I was a younglad in my new hornpipe shoes, at the Leprechaun’s dance and musicfestival in Ballyconniger. I out stepped the whole lot of them. Sure, Iwas the pride of Coolrainy.” answered King Brian proudly. “My wish then,” said Nanny, “is for you to teach me the DarbyO’Gill two step.” “That’s a fine choice of a dance, Lass. Stand back there now and giveme some room.” King Brian gave Nanny a demonstration. “Stand uptall with your shoulders back and your chin up. Look straight ahead ofyourself. Right foot, left foot. One, two … one, two, three. One, two… one, two, three. Are you following me?” He glanced at Nanny. “Thisis a serious matter Nanny Reilly. After all, I have my dancing reputationto think of.” He straightened out his cloak and gently placed his handson both sides of his crown making sure it sat perfectly on his head. Heinhaled and looked straight ahead. “One, two … one, two, three. Getyour feet well up off the ground and move forward. Dance, dance …one, two, three. Dance, dance … one, two, three.” King Brian laid thesack on the ground. He pulled a tin whistle out from under his cloak.He started playing the tin whistle and tapping his foot. Then he tookoff dancing a jig all around Magandy’s Pond. “I think I know how to do it now,” said Nanny. “Follow me andsee if I’m doing it right.” Nanny started lifting her knees up “One, two… one, two, three. One, two … one, two, three, Dance, dance … one,two, three. Dance, dance … one, two, three.” Nanny imitated the King,as she danced around Magandy’s Pond. King Brian followed her, playing his tin whistle and doing theDarby O’Gill two-step. Henry Daly was trotting close behind keeping 17
  22. 22. Annette O’Leary-Cogginsboth Nanny and King Brian in his sights. While Nanny and King Brianwere dancing around Magandy’s Pond, Princess Tara slipped out of thesack. She was just pretending to be asleep. She hid behind a mushroomand watched the dancing. “Hold it there, Lass,” said King Brian. “Sure, you’re not doing itright. Never let it be said that King Brian, king of all the leprechauns inCoolrainy, couldn’t teach a young lady the Darby O’Gill two-step. Weleprechauns take pride in our dancing.” King Brian put his tin whistleback in his cloak pocket and took out his small shillelagh. “Take a holdof the other end of this shillelagh and stay close to me,” he said. “Nowon the count of three, start off with your right foot and then do whatI do.” “All right,” said Nanny, holding the other end of the shillelagh, “butcan we dance around the field instead of the pond? I don’t want to slipand fall into Magandy’s Pond. My brother told me it could take weeksto get back from Australia, it’s that far down.” King Brian laughed. “It’s a strange lass you are, Nanny Reilly, butit’s your wish. C’mon over here, and I’ll turn you into the second bestdancer in the whole of Ireland,” he said. Nanny and King Brian took off dancing around the field. The Kingwas laughing and thoroughly enjoying himself. Now his sullen greeneyes sparkled and he began singing in his lovely tenor voice. “Dance, dance, wherever you may be. I am the Lord of the dance said he. And I lead you all wherever you may be, And I lead you all to the dance said he.” “Now, follow me again and see if I’m doing it right,” laughedNanny. She was having fun dancing the Darby O’Gill two-step inthe cool almost dawn. King Brian followed Nanny Reilly around thefield and down the bog road. Nanny knew he would be so involvedin the intricate steps, he wouldn’t be paying attention to where theywere headed. Princess Tara jumped up on Henry Daly’s back, and theyfollowed Nanny and King Brian. 18
  23. 23. Nanny Reilly19
  24. 24. CHAPTER FIVEThey danced across Clancy’s footbridge. Tom the plough horse wasback at his resting spot behind the leafy oak tree. He raised his headand pricked his ears. This time he didn’t run in fright. King Brian andNanny came dancing through in high gear. Nanny looked at Tom andagain put her finger to her lips reminding him not to tell anyone. Tomtwitched his ears back and forth and nickered. They danced their way up the ferny trail on Sarah’s hill. Nanny wasbeginning to get tired as the made their way down to O’Brien’s Half-acre. After all, she’d already had a hike that very night. She glancedbehind her. Henry Daly was panting a little but still going strong. Princess Tara gave Nanny a thumbs up sign. She was as fresh as adaisy and well rested. Small beads of sweat began trickling down King Brian’s forehead.His crown had tilted on his head. Nanny’s headache came back. This was not a good time for KingBrian to get tired and to stop dancing. Nanny had to think quickly.King Brian was down to his last note. She began singing her own songhoping it would last long enough. If not, she would repeat the chorus.They always do that in school, every time the class sang songs for theChristmas Holidays and nobody could remember the words.“Toor a looh, one-two-threeToor a lay, one-two-three.Singing toor a lie, toor a lie, toor a lie eh.We’ ll dance through the streams, 20
  25. 25. Nanny ReillyWe’ ll dance through the meadows.We’ ll dance o’er the mountainsWe’re good dancing fellowsWe’ ll dance through the evening,We’ ll dance all night long.We’ ll dance ’til tomorrow,If nothing goes wrong.Toor a loo, one-two-three,Toor a lay, one-two-three,Singing toor a lie, toor a lie, toor a lie eh.” And there they were, at Katie’s Field in Ballineskar. “You’re a grand singer, Nanny Reilly,” said King Brian as he huffedand puffed and mopped his forehead with a green handkerchief. “AndI’d never think that to look at you. Sure, you’re full of surprises.” Nanny thought how right he was. “This is the most dancing I’ve done since St. Patrick’s Day,” laughedKing Brian. “You’ve got it now, Lass. I’ll give you credit for being a gooddancer. Sure you’re as good as any leprechaun I know. Now you’ll beable to teach anyone the Darby O’Gill two-step and be ready for St.Patrick’s Day next year. Remember to tell everybody that King Brian,king of all the leprechauns of Coolrainy, gave you the dancing lessons.”He brushed the lapel of his checkered waistcoat with the tips of hisfingers, then held his waistcoat at the waist and tugged on it. He bowedlow and when he stood up straight, Nanny laughed out loud. “I’ll be sure to tell them all about you, King Brian,” said NannyReilly, still giggling. “You’re the leprechaun with ears like a rabbit.”Nanny moved her hands up above her head as if she had tall, slimrabbit ears. “Ears like a rabbit?” said King Brian. He grabbed his ears. “Saintspreserve me, my ears are long and furry. Look at my hands! They looklike rabbit paws, and I can feel whiskers on my face. What’s afterhappening to me? You tricked me.” “Yes I did,” said Nanny with her hands on her hips, “because youtricked me.” “How did you know I love to dance, and how did youknow I would turn into a rabbit if I stepped foot in Ballineskar?” cried King Brian. 21
  26. 26. Annette O’Leary-Coggins With that, Henry Daly walked up with Princess Tara on his back,stood beside Nanny, and sniffed in a patronizing way. “I told her,” Princess Tara said, sitting up straight on Henry Daly’sback. “You tricked Nanny Reilly into kidnapping me so you couldransom me for the crock of gold. Then you would be King of Ballineskarand play mean tricks on the people and leprechauns of Ballineskar again.You’re a mean leprechaun, Uncle Brian,” the Princess said, shaking herfinger at her rabbit-eared uncle. “You’re supposed to be nice to people and grant them three wishes.”She held up three fingers and shook her hand for emphasis “Three wishes?” Nanny said, crossing her arms over her chest. “Ionly got one wish.” She took a step toward King Brian. “You owe metwo more wishes.” “Indeed I do,” answered King Brian, “but I have no power now.I’m a rabbit. You could try wishing me back to Magandy’s Pond, thenI might be able to come up with another wish for you.” “Don’t listen to a word he says, Nanny Reilly,” the little Princesssaid. “He’s only trying to trick you again. If you wish him back toMagandy’s Pond, he’ll find another way to kidnap me, and he mightmake a mushroom grow out of your head.” Princess Tara swung herleg over Henry’s back and dismounted. She tossed her long red braidover her shoulder and marched towards King Brian swinging her armswith each stride. She stopped inches away from him placed her handson her hips, glared at him and said, “The only way anyone is safe fromUncle Brian is to leave him as a rabbit until he swears by all the saintsand scholars of Ireland that he’ll never play a mean trick on anybodyever again,” Then she about turned and marched back to Henry Daly.Henry gave a quick bark and a growl at King Brian telling him to stayright there. “Why don’t you swear on all the saints and scholars of Ireland?”asked Nanny. “Then you won’t be a rabbit anymore.” “Because I have a lot of fun playing tricks on everybody,” King Briansaid. “I don’t think they’re mean. They’re fun.” He blushed slightly andNanny didn’t know if it was embarrassment or just all that dancing. TheKing continued, “if I break my promise to all the saints and scholarsof Ireland, I’ll never be able to dance again, and I’ll have to live on my 22
  27. 27. Nanny Reillyown down at Ravens Point. I’ll never see another leprechaun or humanbeing for ever, and ever.” “That’s a long time,” agreed Nanny. “Well, then you should makea promise and keep it. You don’t have to play mean tricks on anybody.You can play fun tricks on them instead. And I know you know thedifference between mean tricks and fun tricks, King Brian.” Nanny smiled remembering her brother Frank’s trick. “My brotherplayed a fun trick on me on Christmas Day. He pretended he was SantaClaus and gave me a cowboy hat like Annie Oakley’s and new collarfor Henry Daly.” “I think you have me there, Lass,” answered King Brian. “I neverthought of playing fun tricks on anyone.” King Brian’s face softenedand he bowed his head. He sighed, realizing perhaps his sense of humorcould use a little adjusting. “I’m going to make a promise, this very moment, on all the saintsand scholars of Ireland that I will never play a mean trick on anyoneever again.” He put his left hand on his heart and raised his right handin the air. At that very moment, there was a gust of wind, and the rabbit earsand whiskers disappeared. King Brian looked just like himself again.Except this time his face was not sinister, it was a kind face. His greeneyes were not sullen or cloudy, they were smiling and bright. His bodywas not cock-of-the-walk, it was relaxed and friendly. Princess Tara was very happy, and so was Nanny. Now she knewfor sure King Brian wasn’t going to make a mushroom grow out of herhead. King Brian lifted Princess Tara up in the air and said “I know you’reonly eight inches tall, and it’s a bit of a stretch for me to bend downand pick you up, but you’re worth the stretch. You may be small on theoutside but you’re as big as a mountain on the inside. You are grand lass.Your parents will be very proud of you.” Then King Brian turned to Nanny and said, “I think you have twomore wishes, Nanny Reilly. What is your second wish?” Nanny did not have to think too hard for the second wish. “I wishNed Franey would leave me and everybody else alone and not play anymore mean tricks on us.” 23
  28. 28. Annette O’Leary-Coggins “Done,” laughed King Brian. “You’re a good lass too, Nanny Reilly.You deserve the biggest of wishes to come true.” King Brian straightenedhis crown, spat into the palms of his hands, and rubbed them together.“Give me your best shot Nanny Reilly. What is your third wish?” Nanny thought hard for a moment. She didn’t know what else towish for once Ned Franey was going to leave her alone. She lookedat Henry Daly. She loved her dog. He was her very best friend in thewhole, wide world. “I know what to wish for,” said Nanny. She knelt beside HenryDaly, patted him on the head, hugged him and said, “I wish HenryDaly could talk” “Done,” said King Brian. “Can Henry Daly really talk, King Brian?” asked Nanny. “Of course he can!” replied King Brian. “Ask him anything youlike.” Nanny looked her best friend squarely in the eye. “How old are you,Henry Daly?” Nanny held her breath and waited. Henry Daly looked right back at her with his ears pricked forward.“I’m six and a half years old,” answered Henry Daly in a barky-soundingvoice. “Holy, moley!” said Henry, his doggy mouth curled into a smile.“I can talk!” “You surely can!” said Nanny in astonishment. “Say somethingelse!” “What will I say?” asked Henry Daly. He turned around in a circle,like he was chasing his tail. Then he stopped and said, “I do that whenI’m happy, Nanny Reilly.” “I thought you turned in a circle when you’re happy, Henry Daly,but now I know for sure.” Nanny Reilly laughed into the cool morningair. She wrapped her arms around Henry Daly and hugged him tightly.“Jeepers, I never heard a dog talk before.” “Well, you better get used to it Lass,” laughed King Brian. “But youdon’t want him talking to everybody. Keep it to yourself or the wholevillage will follow you everywhere you go, and they won’t leave HenryDaly alone. Off home with you now, Nanny Reilly, it’s almost dawn.And don’t forget,” King Brian put his finger to his lips, “it’s a secretabout Henry Daly.” 24
  29. 29. Nanny Reilly25
  30. 30. CHAPTER SIXKing Brian and Princess Tara invited Nanny and Henry Daly back onmidsummer’s eve. It was going to be the biggest leprechaun dance inthe whole country. All the leprechauns from two provinces would bethere, and they would all be dancing until dawn. Nanny said goodbye to King Brian and Princess Tara. She told themherself and Henry Daly would love to come back on midsummer’s eve.She and Henry Daly ran off home with their new secret chatting allthe way. “Get yourself cleaned up Nanny,” said her mother, “we’re goinginto town. We need to do some shopping. I promised Mrs. Franey wewould take her and Ned with us today because Ned needs to get newshoes. Henry will have to stay at home, there’s no room in the car forhim today.” “But Henry Daly always comes to town with us. Why can’t NedFraney stay at home?” cried Nanny. “Saints preserve you, Nanny Reilly. I’ll have to wash your mouthout with soap,” said Nanny’s mother. “It’s only right to give people ahelping hand when they need it.” Nanny felt a little ashamed and didn’t say another word. Sheremembered her brother telling her that one time, Tommy Riordan’smother washed his mouth out with soap and Tommy was blowingbubbles from his ears for two weeks. “Ned Franey is coming to town with us today, Henry Daly,” saidNanny sadly. “There’s no room for you so you’ll have to stay at home.” 26
  31. 31. Nanny Reilly “But what about me?” whimpered Henry Daly. “I always go to townwith you to get my bone from Kelly’s butcher shop.” Now Nanny Reilly felt twice as unhappy. She had to sacrifice a daywith her devoted pal for a day with her archenemy Ned Franey. “I’ll get your bone from Mr. Kelly for you,” Nanny told HenryDaly. “But that doesn’t make me feel any better,” answered Henry. Hedropped his head and tail and walked away from Nanny. “Please don’t be sad, Henry Daly,” said Nanny. “You know if I couldbring you, I would.” “But you can take me with you!” answered Henry. “You can hideme in the back seat of the car and cover me with a blanket. No onewill see me.” Nanny Reilly thought for a moment. “OK, but you have to be asquiet as a mouse,” Nanny said. “If Ned Franey hears you, he will surelytell on me. He told the teacher on Joey Howlin when he hid the chalk,and Joey had to write out, I will never hide teacher’s chalk again, in hisbest handwriting.” Nanny took the top blanket from her bed, then went to her bedroomdoor and peeked out. First one way, then the other. Her curls tossedthemselves from side to side, as she looked both ways. Nanny’s motherwas double-checking her shopping list and going through her kitchencabinets, she didn’t want to forget anything. Town was a long way awayand she only did this trip once a week. Nanny was watching her motherto make sure she couldn’t see her. Then Nanny went out to the car withthe blanket in her arms, followed closely by Henry Daly. She opened theback door of their ten-year-old gray ford, and Henry Daly jumped in. “Keep your head down Henry Daly,” said Nanny as she coveredhim up with her blanket, “and whatever you do don’t let Ned Franeyfind you.” “Don’t worry Nanny,” said Henry, I’ll keep quiet, no one will everknow I’m here.” 27
  32. 32. CHAPTER SEVENNanny’s mother drove up outside the Franey’s house and honked thehorn. Ned came running out. His red hair was damp with a sharpcrease and neatly combed. He wore a nice blue sweater and blue jeans.He looked tidier and happier than Nanny had ever seen him. “Hello, Nanny Reilly,” he said with the brightest smile on his face.“Where’s Henry Daly?” Nanny was stunned. “Ned Franey has a smile on his face, and he’sbeing nice to me,” thought Nanny. “My second wish came true, too!” “Eh, Henry Daly had to stay at home. There wasn’t enough room,”answered Nanny. “But I promised him I would get him a bone fromMr. Kelly, the butcher.” “Is he waiting at home for his bone? asked Ned. “Yes he is waiting at home, he’s guarding the house while we shop,”answered Nanny. She looked down at the blanket. Henry was as quietas he had promised to be. He never moved a muscle. “May I play with you and Henry Daly tomorrow?” asked Ned as heclimbed into the back of the car beside Nanny. Henry Daly was wellhidden to Nanny’s left, and Ned sat to her right. “If you like,” said Nanny. “We’ll be picking blackberries tomorrow.I know where the biggest blackberries in Coolrainy are. My brother toldme you need buckets as big as elephant’s feet to fit all the blackberriesin, there so big.” Nanny and Ned chatted the whole way into town. Though she’dhave never believed it, Ned became her friend. When they got to town,their mothers told them to wait in the car while they went to the bank. 28
  33. 33. Nanny ReillyNanny Reilly was a little on edge. She wanted to let Henry Daly outof the car. Nanny looked at the blanket and patted it, and then she looked backat Ned. “Can you keep a secret?” she asked Ned. “Sure I can,” answered Ned. “What is it?” “Henry Daly is hiding under this blanket. My mother told me toleave him at home because there was no room, but Henry Daly wantedto come with us. It was his idea to hide under a blanket.” Nanny wishedshe hadn’t said that. “It was his idea? quizzed Ned, “What do you mean?” “Eh, I mean he ran to the car with a blanket when I told him hehad to stay at home,” answered Nanny. “I didn’t know Henry Daly was so clever,” said Ned, “how did heknow to hide under a blanket?” “Jeepers,” said Nanny Reilly. “Can you keep another secret?” “I surely can. What secret do you have? I love secrets!” answeredNed excitedly. Ned looked over both his shoulders and rolled up the carwindow. His blue eyes widened and a broad smile crossed his freckledface. “First I have to let Henry Daly out of the car. Then he’ll show you,”replied Nanny. She opened the car door. Henry tossed off the blanket,jumped out, and shook himself off. Nanny could tell by Henry Daly’sdoggie smile that he was happy to get out and stretch his legs. “Henry Daly, tell Ned how old you are.” Nanny asked. “I’m six and a half years old,” answered Henry. “Wow!” Said Ned. “How did Henry Daly learn to talk?” Nanny told Ned all about her three wishes from King Brian atMagandy’s Pond. She told him how she was tricked into kidnappingPrincess Tara. Now King Brian and Princess Tara were her friends,and she had been invited to the leprechauns dance at midnight onmidsummer’s eve. “May I go to the dance with you?” asked Ned, “I’ve never seena leprechaun before. I promise to keep your secret. I won’t tellanybody.” “Sure you can,” Nanny replied, “I can teach you the Darby O’Gilltwo-step.” 29
  34. 34. Annette O’Leary-Coggins “Thank you, Nanny Reilly,” said Ned. “I was so mean to you manytimes, but I promise you I will never be mean to you or anyone elseagain. I will be your friend from now on.” Nanny was so pleased to hear Ned say that. She was happy to haveNed as her friend. Before Nanny and Ned’s mothers came back, Henry Daly jumpedinto the car under the blanket to hide out again. Ned went shoppingwith his mother to pick out his new shoes, and Nanny Reilly and hermother did their weekly grocery shopping, not forgetting Henry Daly’sbone from Mr. Kelly’s butcher shop. 30
  35. 35. CHAPTER EIGHTOn midsummer’s eve, Nanny and Ned went to bed at their regularbedtime. Once everybody was asleep, they got out of bed and dressedup in their Sunday best for the dance. Nanny Reilly wore her cowgirlhat, Henry Daly wore his nice collar, and Ned wore his new shoes.Nanny arranged to meet Ned at the cross at ten minutes to midnight.Then they would make their way to Magandy’s Pond with Henry Dalyon guard at their side. “This is where I met King Brian the last time,” Nanny told Ned asthey approached the mushroom King Brian had sat on to trick Nanny.Before Nanny could say another word, she heard that familiar voice. “Well Nanny Reilly, it is a pleasure to have a fine dancer like yourselfattend our midsummer’s eve dance. We welcome you and your newfriend, Ned, to our shindig. This is a night of celebration for leprechaunsall over Ireland. We’re celebrating all our good fortune. Yourself, HenryDaly and Ned are our guests of honor.” King Brian’s regalia, was the insignia of kingship. His cloak was adark rich and royal green. The borders were lined with emeralds andsolid gold studs. He clapped his hands three times. Music filled the air,and out of a rabbit’s burrow beside Magandy’s Pond came one thousandleprechauns wearing splendid green and gold clothing, dancing theDarby O’Gill two-step. King Brian clapped his hands three more times,and fifty leprechauns wearing aprons over their splendid attire camedancing out of the burrow with all kinds of food on big silver platters.They even had a platter full of big, juicy bones for Henry Daly. Thenone more time King Brian clapped his hands three times, and fifty 31
  36. 36. Annette O’Leary-Cogginsmore leprechauns came dancing out with jugs full of all kinds of drinks.What a feast it was. Nanny and Ned looked at each other in awe. Theywere mesmerized by the thousand tiny leprechauns dancing, and neverbefore had they seen so much food. “Wow!” said Ned excitedly. “This is better than the Coolrainy fair.Thank you, Nanny Reilly, for allowing me come to the dance withyou.” “You and Henry Daly are my very best friends,” replied Nanny.“Come on Ned, let me teach you the Darby O’Gill two-step. This is thebest dance in the whole of Ireland.” Nanny and Ned went two-steppingamong the leprechauns, and Henry Daly feasted on his silver platter ofjuicy bones. What a great time they were having. After a half hour ofdancing, Nanny and Ned felt hungry and thirsty, so they decided to joinHenry Daly feasting. King Brian was not dancing. Nanny noticed himstanding on top of a large mushroom, looking out over the fields. “Where’s Princess Tara?” asked Nanny “I thought she was goingto be here.” “I’m wondering that myself, Lass.” answered King Brian. “Neverbefore has a leprechaun been late for the midsummer’s eve dance,especially a leprechaun King from one of the provinces. I’ve sent one ofmy best leprechaun scouts over to Ballineskar to find out what the delayis and if there is anything I can do? I’m a little bit concerned.” “What’s that noise I hear in the distance?” asked Ned. “Stop the music” yelled King Brian. “Stop the music.” The musicsuddenly stopped. The only sound that could be heard was the farawaysound of a horn. “That noise you hear in the distance,” said King Brian,“is the leprechaun’s distress horn. Something is terribly wrong.” King Brian reached into his cloak and pulled out a bugle. Heblew the bugle once and yelled out, “All leprechaun soldiers report forduty” More than six hundred leprechauns ran back into the burrow theyhad come dancing out of. Two minutes later they came charging outon miniature horses. The lead leprechaun soldier was leading a whitehorse for King Brian. The King mounted his horse. He then turned toNanny and Ned and said, “You two should go home and stay there.We don’t know what trouble is out there, and you need to be safe. Stay 32
  37. 37. Nanny Reillyclose to Nanny Reilly and Ned on their way home Henry Daly. Guardthem well.” “But maybe we can help,” said Nanny. “Yeah,” said Ned. “We’re strong.” “I know you are both strong, and I thank you for your offer of help,but you must be off home now. Henry Daly will take good care of youboth,” replied King Brian. With that, King Brian blew his bugle onemore time and shouted, “Onward leprechaun soldiers.” King Brian and his leprechaun army charged off into the night ontheir miniature horses. They were ready to answer the call of distress. 33
  38. 38. Annette O’Leary-Coggins 34
  39. 39. CHAPTER NINE“What will we do, Nanny Reilly?” asked Ned, as he watched the armyof leprechauns gallop away on their horses. He scratched his headvigorously and in frustration, making a mess of his red hair “Do youthink we should follow them or go home?” Nanny tightened the stampede cord on her cowboy hat. Theleprechaun army was almost out of sight. “If Annie Oakley and theLone Ranger were here, they would follow them. They always savepeople. I think we should follow them,” answered Nanny. “PrincessTara is in trouble, and she’s my friend!” “She’s my friend too,” said Henry Daly tilting his head to one sidewith his ears pricked, and blinking his big brown eyes as he looked upat Nanny. “Let’s follow them. I can sniff them out.” “When King Brian sees us he’ll be mad at us for not going home,”said Ned. “We can stay out of sight hiding behind blackberry bushes, ditchesand trees,” replied Nanny Reilly. “Yeah you’re right Nanny, let’s follow them,” agreed Ned. “Alright then, let’s go,” said Henry Daly, sniffing the ground andpicking up the scent of the leprechaun soldiers. Nanny and Ned bravelymarched behind Henry, swinging their arms and looking straight ahead.Left, left, left right left. They marched over Clancy’s footbridge. Tomthe plough horse was standing under the oak tree at the other side. “It’s only me Tom, Nanny Reilly,” said Nanny, “Henry Daly andNed Franey are with me, don’t be afraid.” 35
  40. 40. Annette O’Leary-Coggins Tom nickered back at Nanny. He wasn’t afraid. He was well used toNanny Reilly and her entourage going back and forth during the night.It wasn’t long before they caught up with King Brian and his army. “Stay down as low as you can,” whispered Henry Daly, “and stayas quiet as a mouse. Listen to what King Brian is saying.” Nanny, Nedand Henry Daly skulked behind a sycamore tree. The leprechaun soldiers were gathered around the trunk of an oaktree in the middle of Katie’s field. Beside the rabbit burrow, whereNanny had captured Princess Tara, King Brian was sitting on his whitehorse, facing his soldiers. “Leprechaun soldiers of Coolrainy,” he shouted. “We don’t havemuch time. We have just found out by our scout that King Rory andPrincess Tara were kidnapped by a big burly man. He carried them offin a burlap sack, and we don’t know where they are. The identity of thecaptor is at this time is unknown. I believe he will use Princess Tara todemand the crock of gold from King Rory. They must be found beforedawn, or they will be traded to the wicked Banshee of Raven’s Point,and disappear forever. My poor brother and lovely niece will join all theother poor leprechaun souls in the Banshee’s Cradle. We will never layeyes on them again. Spread out the whole lot of you.” King Brian cantered his white horse in a small circle holding hisshillelagh high in the air. “We’ll have to search every nook and crannyin all the surrounding villages, and we’ve only five hours to do it. Weneed to spread out as far as we can and track them down.” His imperialcloak flowed behind him showing the gold satin lining. Miscellaneouspockets had various items, such as, his tin whistle, his bugle, a greennotebook with a gold ribbon marking his most recent entry, and hisfavorite hornpipe shoes. He wondered if he would get to dance in themtonight, or for that matter, ever again. The leprechaun soldiers rode away in all directions at a gallop.King Brian held his horse back. He put his shillelagh back in his cloak.He removed his crown, held it against his heart and looked up to theheavens. “I have to find my brother and my niece before dawn or that’ssurely the end of them,” he said softly. He knew the Banshee was amean old witch, and she was out every night until dawn searchingfor victims to work in her Dreary Castle, in the Banshee’s Cradle. If a 36
  41. 41. Nanny Reillysoul didn’t escape her grasp by dawn, they were never seen again. Hebowed his head. His white horse stood perfectly still and shined in thefull moonlight of midsummer’s eve. “I would sacrifice myself and allI possess to save them from the Banshee’s Cradle.” His tears fell to theloamy earth, and they too shined in the moonlight. Nanny, Ned and Henry Daly were still hiding behind the sycamoretree. They heard every word King Brian said. They stood quietly justwatching him until he rode away. They now knew what a scared KingBrian looked like. “The Banshee’s Cradle,” said Ned, breaking the silence. “Now what do we do?” said Nanny. “I’m afraid of the Banshee.” “I have an idea,” exclaimed Henry Daly. “I can go down intoPrincess Tara’s burrow, take something that belongs to her and get herscent. Once I have her scent, I can track her down and find her andKing Rory before dawn.” Nanny and Ned were excited about Henry’s idea. Henry Dalycrawled down into the burrow. Less than a minute later, he crawledback out carrying Princess Tara’s pink pajamas with the tiny shamrockson them in his mouth. He zigzagged around Katie’s field sniffing outthe scent. “I got it,” yelled Henry Daly. “The scent is over here.” “Find them, Henry Daly, find them.” Nanny Reilly cried. “Good boy, Henry Daly. You’re a great dog. Lead us to them,” Nedshouted. Henry took off running to the end of the field. The scent took himthrough a gate and into a lane. He followed the lane to the end. He cameto another gate. On the other side of the gate was a small cottage witha couple of old sheds surrounded by large sycamore trees. There was alight on in the house, and they could see a figure passing the window. “They’re in there,” whispered Henry Daly. “We’ll have to find a wayto get them out.” “That’s Bull Cullen’s house,” said Nanny. “Everybody calls himBull because he’s mean. He’s always chasing us out of Katie’s Field. Mybrother told me to be careful of that fellah. He said Bull Cullen waitsfor children to go into Katie’s Field and throws a fishing net over themto catch them.” 37
  42. 42. Annette O’Leary-Coggins “We have to be very quiet,” Nanny whispered. “You go first, HenryDaly.” With careful steps on the soft ground, Henry Daly led Nanny andNed to the window of the cottage. They were careful not to make asound. All three of them peeked in the window. They could see BullCullen opening a sack. They were sure King Rory and Princess Tarawere in it, but there was no movement from the sack at all. Nannyremembered how Princess Tara had kicked with all her might when shehad her in the sack. Bull Cullen just looked into the sack, smiled, and closed it up again.He left the sack sitting on the table while he stoked the fire and pouredhimself a cup of steaming hot tea. He kicked his big old heavy shoesoff and sat in a rocking chair beside the fire, keeping a watchful eye onhis burlap sack. “Why isn’t Princess Tara kicking the sack?” whispered Nanny.“Henry Daly, do you remember when I captured her, she kicked so hardshe bruised my back?” “I do,” said Henry, “and she was doing a lot of shouting at you,too.” “Do you think they are already gone to the Banshee’s Cradle?”asked Ned. “I hope not,” replied Nanny. “We need to get that sack.” Nannyturned from the window and scanned Bull Cullen’s yard. She glancedup at the mighty sycamore tree shading his cottage. She tightened thestampede cord on her cowboy hat. “I have an idea, follow me,” shesaid. Henry Daly and Ned followed Nanny Reilly to one of the oldsheds. Nanny whispered, “Look around for Bull Cullen’s fishing nets andsome rope. He must keep them somewhere around here.” “We’ll climbthe tree and get him to come out of the house. Then we’ll throw the netover him and tie him up.” “But he’s too big for us, Nanny Reilly,” said Ned “We need to knockhim to the ground first, and we have to be quick about it or he’ll catchus and we’ll end up as his Sunday dinner.” “You’re right,” said Nanny. “We need to think of something fast.” “I know,” said Henry Daly. “We need a trip rope, too!” 38
  43. 43. Nanny Reilly “A trip rope! Why?” asked Ned. “We can tie it across his footpath to trip him up,” said Henry. “Thenyou’ll be able to get the net over him.” “I’ll knock the door and run,” said Nanny. “Bull Cullen will runafter me and trip over the rope! You’re so clever, Henry Daly!” continuedNanny Reilly as she put her arms around her pal. “You’re smarter than any other dog I know,” added Ned, “and youcan talk too!” Nanny could feel her tummy fill with butterflies. This was scary. Butthe image of her little leprechaun princess friend gave her courage. Nanny and Ned quietly arranged the trip rope about ten yards fromthe front door while Henry Daly kept a watchful eye on Bull Cullenthrough the window. Then they both climbed the big sycamore treethat leaned over the footpath. They placed the fishing net on two largelimbs a couple of feet apart, directly above where Bull Cullen was goingto fall. After the net was placed in position, Nanny jumped down fromthe tree and Ned remained in the tree. Nanny signaled to Henry Dalythat they were ready to carry out their plan. “OK, Henry Daly,” whispered Nanny. “We’re ready.” 39
  44. 44. CHAPTER TENNanny slipped up to the front door of Bull Cullen’s house. She turnedand looked up in the tree at Ned and gave him a thumbs up. Knock!Knock! Knock! Nanny pounded on the door. She dashed to the otherside of the trip rope. Nothing happened. The door didn’t open. “He’snot coming out,” Nanny whispered, her voice concerned. Ned was squatting in the tree waiting to drop the net on BullCullen. “Maybe he didn’t hear you. Knock again,” Ned whispered.“Can you see him, Henry Daly? What’s he doing?” Henry was still watching Bull Cullen through the window. “He’shiding the sack behind his rocking chair. Here he comes,” whisperedHenry Daly. “Get Ready!” Nanny and Ned were scared. This was worse than any scary movie,and it was too late to change their minds. The cottage door swung openwide. Bull Cullen filled the whole doorway. “Who’s out there at this unholy hour?” he shouted, his voicerumbling into the night. He took a step forward and saw Nanny. I’llcatch you Nanny Reilly!” he roared. “Then I’ll eat you for supper!” Hetook off running after Nanny. Nanny bolted toward the gate. Bull Cullen took long strides andcovered a lot of ground. Ned was ready with the net. Henry Daly dartedinto the house to grab the sack. “Come back here!” Bull shouted at Nanny. He didn’t see the triprope. His right foot got caught and pulled Bull Cullen’s big bulky bodyto a screeching halt. Both his arms stretched out in front of him. His 40
  45. 45. Nanny Reillymouth and eyes were wide open as he crashed to the concrete footpathface down. “Ouch what happened?” He yelled. Ned let the net go and it landed perfectly over Bull Cullen. “Comeon, quickly, Nanny,” shouted Ned as he jumped out of the tree andlanded on Bull. “Grab the rope!” Nanny snatched the rope and tried with all her might to tie up BullCullen. But the big man twisted and turned, and he was very strong. Hewas making brave attempts to stand and remove the fishing net. “I’ll tear the hides off the two of you!” roared Bull. He put his bighands on one rope and pulled hard. “He’s getting loose!” Nanny cried out to Ned, as the angry man’sgrimace changed to an evil grin. He grabbed Nanny Reilly by the ankleand pulled her down. She kicked and screamed to get free. Ned wasdoing everything he could to help Nanny but Bull had grabbed hisankle, too. “I’ll tear the hide off you!” growled an angry voice. “Let them go orI’ll have you for supper!” Nanny and Ned looked up in shock. That wasthe angriest voice they had ever heard. Who could it be? Henry Daly was standing nose-to-nose with Bull Cullen snarling—his sharp, wolf-like teeth gleamed in the moonlight. His eyes were fierce;saliva dripped from his mouth, and the hackles on his neck and backstood up like spikes. “Stay where you are and let them go!” growledHenry Daly. With a flick of his wrist, Bull let Nanny and Ned go. “I’m not goingto hurt them,” he told Henry Daly in a soft, shaky voice. “Look, I’mletting them go. Sure, there’s no harm done.” Bull turned his head and lay face down on the footpath with thefishing net over his head, neck, and shoulders. He didn’t want to seeHenry Daly’s dripping saliva. He was praying that fierce mad dog wouldgo away. Henry’s face was one inch from Bull’s face. Nanny and Nedquickly stood and backed toward the gate, keeping their attention onthe defeated Bull Cullen. When they got to the gate, they turned andhigh tailed it back down the lane as fast as their legs would carry them.Nanny’s stampede cord was down on her neck, her cowboy hat blew inthe wind, and her auburn curls bounced off her head every stride shetook. Ned’s red hair was straight up off his forehead and blowing back 41
  46. 46. Annette O’Leary-Cogginsin the wind. His new shoes took him down the lane ten strides aheadof Nanny. “Did you hear Henry Daly?” said Nanny gasping for breath, whenthey had secured a safe distance between themselves and Bull Cullen. “I surely did!” exclaimed Ned huffing and puffing as he rested bentover with both hands on his knees “Did you see Henry’s teeth? I wasafraid of him myself. Just the look of him scared me.” “I never knew he could look so angry,” replied Nanny placing herhat back on her head and tightening her stampede cord. “He sure scaredBull Cullen. I thought we were doomed.” “Yeah, me too!” answered Ned. “I was sure we were going to be BullCullen’s Sunday supper.” “Look!” cried Nanny, pointing up the lane. “Here comes HenryDaly, and he has the sack.” Henry bounded toward them. “What a dog!” said Ned. “He’s the greatest.” Henry laid the sack at Nanny Reilly’s feet. “There’s still no sign of life,” said Henry quietly. Nanny pulledopened the drawstring of the sack and looked inside. King Rory andPrincess Tara appeared to be sleeping. Princess Tara had both her handsjoined together under her left cheek and she had her knees curled upto her chest. Her head was tucked in to one corner of the sack and thelittle Princess was breathing softly. King Rory was sitting in the othercorner of the sack with his head tilted to one side and his crown downon his nose. He was snoring quietly. 42
  47. 47. Nanny Reilly43
  48. 48. CHAPTER ELEVENThe tiny Princess looked so peaceful. Nanny put her finger in the sackand touched the Princess Tara’s small cheek. “Wake up, Princess Tara.It’s me, Nanny Reilly.” Nanny said quietly. Princess Tara opened her eyes and looked up at Nanny Reilly. Shestretched her arms wide just as if she were wakening up from a goodnight’s sleep. King Rory then opened his eyes. “Saints preserve the lot of us,” hesaid. “Are we safe?” “Yes, Father, we’re safe,” answered Princess Tara. “My friend NannyReilly saved us.” “I didn’t do it alone,” said Nanny. “Henry Daly and my best friendNed Franey helped me. “Sure you are the two bravest young children in the whole of Ireland,”said King Rory. “When that mean man knocked us unconscious, Ithought that was the end of everything for us. I was dreaming of theBanshee’s Cradle.” “We heard King Brian talking about the Banshee’s Cradle.” Nedsaid. “He said you both had to be found before dawn. He and all hisleprechaun soldiers are searching the whole of Ballineskar and Coolrainyfor you. I thought you were goners!” “Goners is a good word for it,” said King Rory. “Let’s find KingBrian and let him know we’re safe. Your bravery was a blessing for us.I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. You will be rewarded forwhat you have done for us.” 44
  49. 49. Nanny Reilly Princess Tara jumped on Henry Daly’s back and hugged him tightly,“you too Henry Daly, you’re so brave.” Nanny and Ned blushed and got a little bashful. They looked tothe ground and twisted their bodies a little. Then they looked at eachother smiling. At the time, they didn’t realize they were being brave.But when they got over their bashful moment, they realized how bravethey were. King Rory took a horn from his cloak pocket and blew it. It waslike the horn King Brian used to blow the distress signal. Except thistime the sound was a joyous one. Another horn rang out in the distance,answering the call for celebration. “Let’s go to Coolrainy and continue the midsummer’s eve dance.We surely must celebrate our good fortune now,” said King Rory. King Rory joined Princess Tara on Henry Daly’s back and thefive of them headed back to Magandy’s Pond to join all the otherleprechauns. When they got there, King Brian and all the leprechauns werewaiting for them. They heard all about the bravery of Nanny Reilly,Ned Franey, and Henry Daly. King Brian stood on a toadstool and then called for silence. “MayI please have everyone’s attention? I have a very proud presentation tomake to our newfound friends here. He took three tiny gold whistlesfrom his cloak. “Take these whistles and keep them with you at alltimes. Wherever you go in Ireland you can blow on these whistles, andthe leprechaun king of that province will appear and help you with yourwishes. From this very moment, you are all as magic as any leprechaunin Ireland.” Nanny’s face lit up. “We’re magic like leprechauns!” she said lookingat Ned. “That’s like being your own genie!” replied Ned “It sure is!” answered Nanny. “Sure, I don’t know what to wish for.May I think for a minute?” “Take as long as you like,” said King Brian. “Your wishes will alwaysbe there.” “I wish for another platter of those juicy bones,” said Henry Daly,licking his lips. 45
  50. 50. Annette O’Leary-Coggins “Done,” said King Brian laughing. A big silver platter of juicy bonesappeared in front of Henry Daly. “Holy moley!” said Henry Daly. “I like this wishing stuff.” “I wish for a cowboy hat like Nanny Reilly’s!” wished Ned. “Done,” said King Brian. A cowboy hat exactly like Nanny’sappeared on Ned’s head. “I like this wishing stuff, too, Henry Daly.” Ned said, removing hisnew hat to admire it. “What about yourself, Lass?” King Brian asked Nanny Reilly. “There’s only one wish I want tonight,” said Nanny. “What is the one wish you would like tonight, Nanny Reilly?” askedKing Brian. “I wish Bull Cullen would forget what happened and not be meananymore,” said Nanny. She surely didn’t want to run into Bull Cullenagain after the events of tonight. “Done,” said King Brian, “and a wise wish it is too.” “Let’s dance and celebrate!” said Princess Tara. “Before we dance, there is one more thing I would like to do,” saidKing Brian “What’s that?” asked Princess Tara. “A fine young cowgirl and a fine young cowboy, with two fine hatslike that, deserve something to go with them,” answered King Brian.He clapped his hands three times, and before Nanny and Ned’s eyesappeared two ponies. One black, and one white. Nanny chose the whitepony, whose name was Frosty. The black pony, Bertie, was Ned’s. 46
  51. 51. Nanny Reilly47
  52. 52. CHAPTER TWELVEIt had rained all day and night the day before, and in a seaside village,that was the best time to go beachcombing. And that was just whatNanny and Ned wanted to do on this particular day. Now they had theirnew ponies to ride, and their cowboy hats to wear, they could finally goto Raven’s Point, where all the treasures from all the shipwrecks were. “My brother told me that Long John Silver is buried at Raven’sPoint, and his wooden leg is still floating in the Atlantic Ocean withhis parrot sitting on it,” said Nanny Reilly as she and Ned rode Bertieand Frosty down the Bog Road to the beach. Henry Daly trotted alongbehind them. “Maybe the treasure is buried with him,” said Ned. “My mother saidold Mrs. Boyle asked that all her treasures get buried with her.” “We can dig up the buried treasure!” said Nanny excitedly. “Yeah,” said Ned “Then we can bury it again in a different place!” “We can bury it behind the coal shed!” said Nanny. “Nobody butHenry Daly ever goes there.” “Then Henry Daly will be able to guard it for us so no one will stealit from us!” added Ned as Bertie moved from a walk to a trot. Nanny squeezed Frosty to catch up. Both ponies were trotting sideby side at the waters edge. Henry Daly picked up the pace too andbounded his way into the ocean. He wanted to swim a little. Nannydirected Frosty into the ocean behind Henry. The water came up toFrosty’s knees as she raised her legs higher with her tail in the air. “Wait for me Nanny Reilly,” said Ned, he asked Bertie to follow.“This is so much fun. I’m really happy to have my pony.” Ned looked 48
  53. 53. Nanny Reillyat Nanny with a broad grin on his face. “I’ll race you to the sand dunes.You can go first because you and Frosty are girls.” Nanny didn’t answer Ned, she just grinned back at him. In aninstant she tightened the stampede cord on her hat, leaned forward,held on to Frosty’s mane and the reins at the same time. “Yeah! yelled Nanny. Frosty was on her toes and ready to oblige.She sprang forward, leaping her way out of the ocean with her tail stillin the air. This was a lot of fun for Frosty. She sprayed Ned and Bertiewith the ocean water on her way. Ned wasn’t quite as ready as Bertiefor Nanny’s quick departure. He lost his seat a little and found himselfgrabbing the mane and pulling himself forward to avoid slipping fromBertie’s back. He didn’t have any time to tighten the stampede cord onhis hat, so he had to hold his hat down with one hand, and hold thereins with the other. That’s the last time he suggests that girls go firsthe thought to himself. Nanny and Frosty reached the sand dunes seconds before Ned andBertie. Nanny was still wearing her grin. “OK,” said Ned, as he dismounted to give his pony a breather, “youwin, but next time we start together.” Nanny agreed nodding, as sheloosened her stampede cord. She leaned forward and hugged Frosty’sneck. Then she slid off her pony’s back, took the reins over her head andlet her rest a while. Henry quickly swam his way back to the waters edge. He shookhimself off and rolled in the dry sand. He loved the beach. He couldsee Nanny and Ned sitting in the sand at the foot of the dunes. Bertieand Frosty stood close by grazing on tall reeds. Henry sniffed his wayto Nanny and Ned. “Not too many rabbits on the beach,” he said, ashe shook the sand from his damp body. He dug himself an area in thesand where he could curl up and relax after his swim. For several minutes, the friends sat and talked about the buriedtreasure they were going to find. The excitement of it all was almosttoo much to bear. “Let’s go Nanny Reilly,” said Ned, before somebody gets therebefore us.” They both mounted their ponies and headed off trottingtowards Ravens Point. Henry Daly led the way. “Look at the footprints in the sand,” said Ned. “Are they comingout of the water?” 49
  54. 54. Annette O’Leary-Coggins “I think they are!” said Nanny. “Maybe it’s somebody from ashipwreck.” “Maybe it’s a pirate!” said Ned “Let’s follow them and see wherethey go.” “I’ll go first,” said Henry Daly. Nanny Reilly, Ned Franey, and theirponies followed Henry up the beach to the dunes. The prints went overthe dunes and into the forest. Henry followed the scent. Nanny, Nedand their ponies were close behind and feeling a little nervous. Therolling sand dunes leveled out, and small pine trees lined a wide sandytrail. As they rode further down the sandy trail it narrowed and becamea grass trail. The trees got taller. Bertie and Frosty snorted. They noticedthe change of scenery and felt tension in Nanny and Ned. Soon theymade their way a little deeper into the forest. Tall pines surroundedthem. Dried twigs littered the trail, and when the ponies trod on themthey snapped loudly and the sound carried. “Do you hear the echo?” asked Ned. “I do,” Nanny said. “It sounds empty in here. I can’t hear anythingbut the twigs breaking. My brother says that when you can hear anecho, it’s really the Banshee. Her footsteps make no sound as she floatsaround and she repeats whatever you say into your ear.” “The Banshee! I heard she only comes out at night,” Ned said. “If she comes after us, Bertie and Frosty will carry us away as fastas lightning, and she’ll never catch us!” Henry Daly came running back. “I found a man behind the treesover there,” he said. “I think he’s asleep.” “Show us where he is, Henry Daly!” Nanny said. Nanny and Nedrode behind Henry Daly. When they got near to where the man lay,they dismounted, tied Bertie and Frosty to a branch of a fallen tree andslowly crept to him. The stranger was sleeping soundly with his head resting against thetrunk of a pine tree. He wore a brown cap, a thick white woolen sweater,gray trousers and rubber boots. “Do you think he’s a pirate?” whispered Ned. “No I don’t think so.” answered Ned. “Sure pirates wear a patchover one eye. Maybe he’s a robber and he came this far into the forestto bury the money he robbed.” “Should we wake him up and ask who he is?” Ned asked. 50
  55. 55. Nanny Reilly “No,” said Nanny, “what if he wakes up and grabs us and we can’tget away.” “I’ll growl at him,” said Henry Daly. “If he grabs me he’ll be a sorryman.” Henry took a step toward the sleeping man; he lowered his headand growled. The strange man didn’t move. “Growl again, Henry Daly, he didn’t hear you,” Nanny said. Henry took another step forward. His nose was now six inches fromthe stranger’s nose. He growled again. This time his growls were deeperand longer. The stranger opened his eyes. He saw Henry’s stern eyes, long noseand sharp teeth, “I knew it,” he mumbled, and then he passed outagain. “I think you scared the life out of him Henry Daly,” said Ned. Henry realized his growling was too severe. He took a few steps backand began barking at the stranger and wagging his tail. Once again,the stranger opened his eyes. Nanny, Ned and Henry Daly stood rigidand stared at him in silence. The stranger stared back. His eyes shifted from Henry, to Ned, andthen to Nanny. “Who are you?” he asked. “My name is Nanny Reilly,” replied Nanny, as she and Ned took asingle step back. “Thank God,” the man said relieved. “My name is Fran O’Toole.If I’m here talking to Nanny Reilly, that means I’m still alive, and shedidn’t get me.” “Who didn’t get you?” asked Nanny. “The Banshee!” said Fran. “The Banshee!” exclaimed Ned. “Is the Banshee here in the forest?If she is, I want to go home.” “I don’t know if she’s here. All I know is we were out fishing when astorm came up, and a mighty wave turned our fishing boat over. Mikeand I were trying to keep our heads above water when I heard a howllike I’d never heard before.” “Let’s get out of here,” said Nanny tightening her stampede cord onher cowboy hat. She quickly turned and made her way towards Frostywho was gorging on the fresh green grass around the fallen pine tree she 51
  56. 56. Annette O’Leary-Cogginsand Bertie were tethered to. Ned tightened the stampede cord on hishat too. This meant they were planning to ride like the wind. “You can ride my pony, and I’ll ride with Ned,” a frightened Nannytold Fran O’Toole. “We can’t go yet,” said Fran. “We have to look for my friend MikeDonovan. I saw the Banshee lift him up out of the water, and she waslaughing like mad at me. She said, don’t go anywhere, I’ll be back foryou! Then she took him off in this direction.” “I’m scared,” said Ned. “Can we go?” “If you two want to go, don’t let me stop you.” Fran said. “I have tofind Mike before I go anywhere. There’s no time to go looking for help.It could take hours for anyone to get here.” “I know who can help!” exclaimed Nanny. “King Brian!” “Yeah!” cried Ned. “King Brian can help!” “King Brian, who’s that?” Fran asked. “He’s the king of all the leprechauns of all Coolrainy,” said Nanny.“If I blow my whistle, he’ll show up and give me a wish.” Nanny pulledher new gold whistle from the pocket of her blue jeans. “I don’t have time for your jokes right now,” Fran said angrily.“Go home, the pair of you, and leave me alone. I’ll find Mike withoutyou.” Fran got to his feet and dusted the pine needles off his trousers.“Whoever heard of such a ridiculous thing? King Brian my eye,” headded. “It’s true!” Ned said in Nanny’s defense. “He gave me this cowboyhat, and he gave Henry Daly some juicy bones.” “He gave us our ponies, and then he made Henry Daly talk,”added Nanny, hoping she sounded convincing to poor Fran. She couldimagine how her story sounded to anyone, and especially to someonewho’d been attacked by the Banshee. “Who’s Henry Daly?” Fran asked. “My dog,” said Nanny. “That’s it. I’ve heard enough!” Fran said angrily as he straightenedhis hat. “The two of you get up on your magic ponies and take yourtalking dog with you.” He shook his fist at them and said, “Get outof here, the pair of you, and don’t say another word.” Fran O’Toolemarched off, leaving Nanny and Ned speechless. 52
  57. 57. Nanny Reilly “He doesn’t believe us!” Ned said, his freckles were standing outon his pale face, so Nanny knew he was as shocked as she was. “Whydoesn’t he believe us?” “I don’t know,” answered Nanny. “I’m going to blow my whistlefor King Brian.” With that, Nanny blew hard on her whistle, but no noise camefrom it. “What’s wrong with this thing?” asked Nanny “It didn’t makeany noise.” “I’ll blow my whistle,” said Ned “Maybe yours is broken.” Nedpulled his from his pocket and blew it as hard as he could. No noisecame from it. “What’s wrong with mine?” pouted Ned. “It doesn’twork!” “I’ll blow mine,” said Henry Daly. He lowered his head to grab thewhistle hanging from his collar and blew as hard as he could. Not asound came from his whistle either. 53
  58. 58. Annette O’Leary-Coggins 54
  59. 59. CHAPTER THIRTEEN“What’s wrong with our whistles?” asked Nanny with her hand on herhip, “I hope King Brian didn’t trick us again.” “Indeed I didn’t trick you,” a voice said. “My ears are still ringingout of my skull you blew those whistles so hard.” It was King Brian. He was sitting on the branch of the tree abovetheir heads with his hands over his ears. “Your pipes are working loudand clear,” he said. “King Brian!” yelled Nanny, Ned and Henry Daly together. Theywere delighted to see him. Bertie and Frosty neighed in unison, theytossed their heads and pawed the ground. They too were happy to seeKing Brian. “Sure we thought the whistles were broken because we couldn’t hearthe sound of them,” said Ned. “The Leprechaun Kings are the only ones who can hear them,”answered King Brian, “and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if everyleprechaun King in Ireland showed up. I’m sure their ears are in thesame state as mine, but I’ll forgive you this time,” he laughed. “Whatcan I do for Nanny Reilly, Ned Franey and Henry Daly today?” “King Brian,” said Nanny, “We told Fran O’Toole you gave usBertie and Frosty and he told us to go home because he had no time forjokes, he had to save Mike Donovan from the Banshee. “The Banshee?” replied King Brian. “Save Mike Donovan?” King Brian jumped from the branch to the ground, looking as if hewere flying. “It sounds to me like someone is in trouble,” he said as he 55